HST3118/3119: Imperialism and Independence: Twentieth Century Africa
40 credits (semesters 1 and 2)
Module Leader: Dr Miles Larmer
A pass in at least two history modules at level two.
This module introduces you to important debates and issues in the history of sub-Saharan Africa in the Twentieth Century. It will enable you to critically analyse a variety of historiographical approaches and primary source materials utilised by historians. Official documents and speeches by colonial officials and nationalist leaders will be examined, but sources such as fiction, newspapers, newsreel and feature films will also be used. The course uses the latest scholarship (emphasising post-colonial and subaltern approaches) and, in challenging a hitherto dominant nationalist historiography, emphasises the importance of both local diversity and global forces in shaping Africa's history.
The module will focus primarily on African countries which were British colonies for most of the century: Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast), Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi (Nyasaland) and Zambia (Northern Rhodesia). It will however also draw on examples from parts of Africa ruled by Britain and other European powers.
The introductory part of the module (Semester I, weeks 1-5) will explore key historiographical concepts and approaches to the history of Africa. The second part of the module (Semester I, weeks 6-10) will examine the realities of colonial rule, how the colonies were administered and the ways in which these processes were shaped by African and European actors. The third part of the module (Semester II, weeks 1-5) will explore the ways in which African nationalist (and other) political movements emerged and the ways in which the achievement of national independence interacted with diverse economic and social struggles that continued after independence. The final part of the module (Semester II, weeks 6-11) will examine the challenges and problems faced by newly independent African nation-states in the final quarter of the Twentieth Century.
This module aims to introduce you to the main historical approaches, historiographical debates and source materials used to understand the history of Africa in the Twentieth Century. On successful completion of the module, you will have gained an overall grasp of the complexity of the ways in which the history of Africa has been shaped by the interaction of internal and external actors and forces.
Students seeking to complete a dissertation related to this special subject should be aware that many of the primary sources they may wish to use are located outside Sheffield. Depending on the topic they pursue, travel to London, Oxford or other locations may be necessary.
Twice-weekly two hour seminars will focus on a particular theme, analysed in relation to relevant examples and case studies. Seminar discussion of primary and secondary sources will help you to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the historiography and of the principal varieties of primary source material available to historians. Through discussion of these primary and secondary materials you will develop your understanding of the history of Africa during this period.
You will be assessed by means of a 3-hour unseen examination testing your command of the secondary literature and your ability to contextualise and analyse primary source material. An informal record of oral performance will be given to you. You will also write essays and complete written gobbet exercises during the course as part of your personal preparation for the examination; although not included in the final assessment.
- F. Cooper Africa Since 1940: the Past of the Present (2002).
- Basil Davidson The Black Man’s Burden: Africa and the curse of the nation-state (1992).
- B. Freund The Making of Contemporary Africa (1998).
- J. Iliffe Africans: the History of a Continent (1995) (electronic version available).
- P. Nugent Africa Since Independence: A Comparative History (2003).
- R. Oliver & A. Atmore Africa Since 1800 (1972).
- UNESCO/A. Adu Boahen General History of Africa Vol VII - Africa UnderCcolonial Domination 1880-1935.
- UNESCO/Ali A. Mazrui General History of Africa Vol VIII - Africa Since 1935 (1993) The Cambridge History of Africa Vols 7 (1905-1940), and 8 (1940-1975) (1986, 1984).
- K. Shillington History of Africa (1995).
- J.D. Fage A History of Africa (1995).
Intended Learning Outcomes